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Sister Janet Ryan, a native of Woburn, has committed her life to God through perpetual vows as a Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa. The profession took place at a Mass July 20 celebrated by Bishop Martin Amos, Bishop of Davenport, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Clinton, Iowa. Her profession was witnessed by her religious community of sisters, sojourners, and associates, as well as many family members and friends.
Sister Janet is the daughter of E. James and the late Phyllis B. Ryan. In the first years of her initial discernment for religious life, Sister Janet was introduced to the L'Arche movement founded by Jean Vanier. After serving with L'Arch communities in Clinton, she became the founding Executive Director of L'Arche St. Louis where she presently serves as Community Leader.
Although Sister Janet's aunt, Clinton Franciscan Sister Robert Power, visited her family home near Boston during Janet's formative years, it was not until much later that she began to consider religious life for herself. In the late '80s, Janet took a coaching position at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and visited her aunt frequently. Inspired by the dedication and happiness of Sister Robert, she began to question the role that God had in mind for her life. Eventually Sister Robert encouraged her to take her questions to Sister Donna Burke, who was the director of formation for the Sisters of St. Francis and thus began a time of serious discernment.